Laurel Race Course yesterday experienced its most successful Sunday of racing, but it was hardly out of the ordinary for Yankee Affair.

The 5-year-old gelding won his fourth consecutive race with a 1 1/2-length victory over My Big Boy in the $138,700 Laurel Turf Cup, which highlighted the opening of Laurel's 61-day fall meeting.

With free admission, parking and programs, Laurel drew 15,930 fans and a $1,961,630 betting handle, both track records for a Sunday. Laurel initiated Sunday racing in 1979, but it lasted only one meeting; Sunday racing resumed in 1984.

The 11-race program also featured the $25,000 Virginia Stallion Oaks (won by Ballet Buff), a simulcast of the $761,500 Rothmans International from Woodbine near Toronto, and the nation's two most victorious jockeys -- Kent Desormeaux and Pat Day. Desormeaux padded his lead, winning three of nine races; Day was zero for four.

Jockey Matt Vigliotti was one for two, but his victory, astride Yankee Affair, was worth $74,555 to owner Marty Scheinman of the Jujugen Stable.

Trainer Henry Carroll placed Yankee Affair in the Turf Cup, a 1 1/4-mile grass race, in hope of receiving the third and final invitation to the Washington, D.C. International in two weeks.

Starting from post 7 in a field of 10, Yankee Affair (4 to 1) broke smartly and was angled toward the inside as Mary Wiley sent Goose Bumps (14 to 1) to a clear lead as the field passed the grandstand for the first time. Approaching the first turn, Goose Bumps was running freely, up four lengths on Great Communicator (9 to 2), who was flanked outside by Yankee Affair. Allen Stacy, meanwhile, had highweight Castelets (3 to 1) toward the back, as expected, along with Day and 2-to-1 favorite Glaros. But neither made a serious bid at any point.

Coming out of the far turn, Great Communicator and Yankee Affair rallied in tandem, and Goose Bumps' lead slowly dissolved. But he wasn't easy to pass.

"I thought we were home free even as late as the three-sixteenths pole," Wiley said. "I thought we were gonna hang on."

But by the furlong pole, it was clear they would not. Yankee Affair left Great Communicator behind and moved past Goose Bumps on the outside, widening his lead with each stride. Goose Bumps, My Big Boy and Great Communicator crossed the wire simultaneously, a nose separating each. My Big Boy was second, Great Communicator third and Goose Bumps fourth. Yankee Lad went the distance in 2:00 2/5.

"That horse usually quits," Vigliotti said of Goose Bumps, "so Mr. Carroll told me to rate behind him. At the top of the lane, I knew {Yankee Affair} would be tough because I hadn't asked him for anything."

Based in New Jersey, Yankee Affair boosted his lifetime earnings to $260,327, and he's done it in a two-year span. Difficult to control in his younger days, Yankee Affair was gelded as a 3-year-old and didn't make his racing debut until age 4. His first race on turf came June 20; he since has won five of seven turf starts.

Laurel president Frank De Francis said he will decide on the final International invitation after preentries close Tuesday. The preentry fee is $3,000.

In the Rothmans, River Memories, a French filly who threw her jockey entering the gate, won by a head over Sadjiyd. Epsom Derby winner Sir Harry Lewis finished third.

River Memories, ridden by Chris McCarron, became the first 3-year-old filly to win the Rothmans. She covered the 1 1/2-mile turf course in 2:32 4/5.

Swink, the 8-to-5 favorite ridden by Bill Shoemaker, was eighth.